I watched a movie and found a line saying:

It's just plain dangerous. They carry different diseases than we do.

I am wondering what the meaning of 'plain' dangerous is?

I checked Cambridge Dictionary but still don't understand which meaning fits the context.

Could you explain the meaning of the 'plain'?

Some snippets of dialogue (including the line question) may be found on this [WordPress blog][3].

  • Just plain obvious.
    – Xanne
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 19:02
  • no ifs ands or buts
    – lbf
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 19:07
  • I think it may have come from It is plainly dangerous and is an idiomatic contraction.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 19:13
  • Not so much a contraction as just an (old-fashioned) flat adverb.
    – user184130
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 20:51
  • It's an "intensifier".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 21:35

2 Answers 2


You can use plain before an adjective in order to emphasize it: The food was just plain terrible. Plain is also used before a noun: Is it love of publicity or plain stupidity on her part?

Collins Dictionary


The following definition from Dictionary.com may fit:


4) downright; sheer; utter; self-evident:

  • plain folly; plain stupidity.
  • +1, though technically that's an adjective definition (whereas the OP's example is using it as an adverb).
    – ruakh
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 1:58

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